This is not about personal preference. My feelings about the people on this list range from adoration to indifference to disgust. But none of these people had as positive reaction as Laverne Cox and Lupita Nyong’o did. In fact, many of them actually have a higher percentage of “no” than “yes”. With the exception of Benedict Cumberbatch, Laverne Cox received more reactions than anybody else, AND she has one of the highest “yes” percentages of anybody on the voting list.
So what is the point of voting, if the results of the voting don’t matter? We were told to vote for who we believed should be on the list, we did, and two of the people who received the most affirmative votes were not included.
So what was the point? Did you include them in the voting as some sort of kick-back, or an attempt to placate their fans, without any intention of including them? You included Megyn Kelly in a list entitled “pioneers”, and yet Laverne Cox has done more pioneering for the rights and interests of trans women than Megyn Kelly has ever done. You included two men who run dictatorships and commit human right violations routinely, people in media who haven’t really done anything spectacular within their fields, two politicians who had overwhelmingly negative reactions and…the Koch brothers?
Perhaps you had other criteria for the title “influential”. Perhaps a trans woman who campaigns for the rights and awareness of issues relating to trans women (one of the most denigrated groups in the world) didn’t meet that standard. Perhaps being awarded several humanitarian-related awards and being the key note speaker at several events wasn’t enough. Perhaps a woman who dares to speak out about these issues at the risk of her very identity being derided and attacked, because she wants to make her community better and she wants to help young girls just like her accept themselves and grow up in a better world just wasn’t influential enough for you.
And I guess a young actress who swept the awards season isn’t what you would call influential. I guess a woman who took on an emotionally trying role in a film that highlighted the atrocities on our nation’s past wasn’t good enough. A dark skinned woman who has just been deemed the most beautiful woman in the world, bringing hope and happiness to millions of black girls and women who are often insulted because of their skin—that just didn’t quite meet the same standards as being in a few films in one year.
Or maybe, just maybe, the accomplishments of these two women challenge societal norms too much. Maybe what they have done and what they stand for is too uncomfortable for your readership and your editor. Maybe you just think the people the Koch brothers and Rand Paul influence are more important than the people Laverne and Lupita influence.
And that is a damn shame.